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TCU's Nightmare Season Continues; WR Takes Leave

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TCU receiver Brandon Carter left the team for personal reasons before Saturday, which turned into yet another disappointing loss for the Horned Frogs (3-5). Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.
TCU receiver Brandon Carter left the team for personal reasons before Saturday, which turned into yet another disappointing loss for the Horned Frogs (3-5). Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.

Picked third preseason by the Big 12 media, TCU instead has labored to a 3-6 season.

After allowing West Virginia to make a comeback and win Saturday in Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs have an outside chance to finish last in the conference.

Starting quarterback Casey Pachall missed most of the season with a broken forearm, so while TCU held Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to 20, 20 and 24 points on the road, Gary Patterson's team lost all three games.

With Pachall back, the team gave up back-to-back 30-point games to Texas and West Virginia, losing both. And now Brandon Carter, perhaps TCU's best receiver, has taken a leave of absence. Carter did not play Saturday and it's unclear if he'll be back for the final three games.

"It was a personal thing. It had nothing to do with me. It had to do with him personally, off the field, and what he needed to do with his family," Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Carter entered Saturday as the team's second-leading receiver with 17 catches for 197 yards. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound junior was the lead returning receiver, catching 36 passes for 590 yards and six touchdowns last year.

Carter had surgery on his hand in August, though it didn't cost him any games.

Reading tea leaves isn't always accurate, but Patterson didn't sound like he expects Carter back any time soon. Asked for a timeline, Patterson simply replied, "I haven't talked to him."

Patterson has dealt with his star quarterback missing huge chunks of the last two seasons, the transition to the Big 12 and other difficulties, but the program's fan base came to expect greatness from a team that treated them to two BCS bowl appearances in recent years. TCU has been to a bowl game in 11 of his 12 seasons as head coach and has finished ranked in the final AP poll eight times, including No. 2 in 2010.

It's hard to imagine TCU getting rid of Patterson, but the team apparently is headed for a losing season after a 7-6 mark last year. Things may start getting tense in Fort Worth next season unless the Horned Frogs turn it around.